Goldman Sachs analyst Patrick Archambault might have set a new precedent for valuing shares of Tesla Motors after some recent number crunching on his end implied that Tesla could (emphasis on could) hit a stock price of $478 — about double where the stock stands now as of Tuesday morning’s trading. Archambault’s report comes after Goldman increased its six-month price target on the shares to $200, which would represent a 15 percent fall from current levels.
Not surprisingly, Archambault’s $478-per-share scenario relies on a fair amount of theory based on variables that Tesla would have to meet. In his model, Archambault sees the company as being a monumental disruptor of the auto industry and initiated three different scenarios to help describe his logic, which pictures CEO Elon Musk as Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, or the Maytag repairman, Charley Blaine wrote for 24/7 Wall Street.
He then illustrated his thesis by describing Tesla’s early sales akin to growth rates for Apple’s iPhone, Ford’s Model T, and a basket of appliances like washing machines to map the possible Tesla results, Blaine said. Archambault even quoted some variables as being less favorable than the company’s outlook allows. For example, he sees Tesla’s production rising to around 500,000 units in 2022, rather than Tesla’s own stated projections that such a figure will be reached in 2020.
Anyways, back to that bit about Elon Musk standing in for Steve Jobs. Archambault theorizes that Tesla’s vehicle production could reach 3.06 million units by 2025 and snare a 2.7 percent block of the global market of nearly 112 million units. Archambault pegs Tesla’s revenue in 2025 at $155.9 billion as growth slows given new competition. Under this set of pretenses, the present value of Tesla shares based the growth model is about $100 more than current levels, at $336.
That’s undoubtably an optimistic point of view, but it seems that if any company is able to pull it off, it would be one like Tesla. Musk has shown how dangerous it can be to bet against an idea, especially one of his — and right now, much of Tesla’s future is still an idea, one has commanded a valuation greatly disproportionate to its output.
Moving on to Archambault’s next scenario, which applies the Elon Musk-as-Henry Ford approach. Under these pretenses, the analyst believes that Tesla produces a relatively inexpensive vehicle similar to that of Ford’s Model T to go with its existing and projected lineup. The electric car market would hit 6 million units per year by 2025 under these conditions, with Tesla enjoying an estimated 55 percent market share.
“As this is the highest of the volume forecasts,”Archambault wrote in his report, “it is not surprisingly the scenario with the highest [present value] for Tesla shares of $478.” Revenue in 2025, according to his model, is implied at $172.5 billion.
Finally, the third and final situation, in which Elon Musk takes on the role of the “Maytag repairman.” For this scenario, Archambault sees Tesla maintaining a 55 percent share of the electric vehicle market, although the production would be about 1.8 million vehicles. This in turn lowers the present value due to new competition and likely a revenue decline later in the model. Revenue for 2025 is calculated at $99.9 billion, and the present value of Tesla shares is projected to be $223 after peaking at $504 in a couple of years.
Archambault’s baseline projection sees Tesla production rising to nearly 764,000 units, with year-over-year growth ranging from as much as 75 percent and as low as 18 percent in the latter years, Blaine said. Revenue at baseline in 2025 is estimated at $50.5 billion. “Part of this is to capture the unforeseen delays that are likely to happen in launching such a large capital project,” Blaine wrote for 24.7 Wall Street, “like delays in capacity installation, supplier qualifications and raw material procurement.”
Archambault also pegged the price for the Gen-III vehicle now in development at $50,000, higher than Tesla’s stated target price in the high $30,000 to low $40,000 range — though chances are good that buyers will have a lengthy list of pricey options to navigate through.
Those are impressive results nonetheless, Archambault said, though delays in reaching 500,000 units per year could hurt the stock, Blaine observed. But there’s a catch, as there so often is: They imply a present value of $66 on the stock. Tesla shares are then significantly overvalued — but we all knew that already.